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Miami Bankruptcy & Criminal Attorney / Blog / Criminal Defense / Retail Theft During the Holidays

Retail Theft During the Holidays


Here come the holidays, and with them, a loss to retailers to the tune of billions.  It’s the busiest shopping period of the year, which means it’s also the prime time for shoplifters to hit the stores, with over 80 percent of all retail theft occurring during the holidays. In just the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, nearly $2 million worth of merchandise will likely be lost. That estimate is up 6 percent from 2022.

Motivations Behind Shoplifting 

There are a variety of reasons that individuals choose to risk being arrested for shoplifting, some of which may surprise people:

  1. Psychological issues:  Everything from kleptomania to OCD and depression can lead people to shoplift. Bipolar disorder and anxiety can hamper one’s reasoning, increasing the chances of shoplifting.
  2. They can’t afford things:  The pressure to provide gifts for family and friends can be overwhelming, and when someone simply doesn’t have the disposable income to make desired gift purchases, the temptation to steal can be strong. For that matter, there are plenty of people who struggle to afford basic necessities, and shoplifting becomes a matter of survival.
  3. Peer Pressure:  Some people, particularly teens, may feel pressure from friends to see what they can get away with.
  4. Thrill-seeking:  Sometimes people get a bit of a rush as they “outsmart” store security systems.  They may not need or want the items they steal, but love the thrill of taking them.
  5. They think they can beat the odds:  Some shoplifters believe the risk of getting caught is so small compared with the joy of having stolen items that they go for it. Afterward, they can enjoy—or sell—stolen merchandise.
  6. They owe someone:  In some incidents, immigrants get involved in this sort of crime in order to pay off their debt to parties who assisted in their entrance into the country.
  7. It’s viewed as a crime that doesn’t really hurt anyone:  Many shoplifters believe they are engaging in a victimless crime, and that insurance companies will make retailers whole after a theft.

Organized Retail Crime Groups 

One of the latest trends to hit retail stores is the smash-and-grab operations that have frightened employees and cost retailers a lot of money.  Groups of thieves target designer materials that can then be resold online or in large quantities elsewhere.


Whatever the reason, shoplifters who are caught and prosecuted do face some pretty unpleasant criminal penalties, including fines ranging from $500-$10,000 and imprisonment from 60 days to as much as 30 years, depending on the value of merchandise stolen and other factors.

The Defense you Need 

The experienced Miami criminal defense attorneys at The Law Office of Julia Kefalinos have your best interest at heart and will fight for the best possible outcomes for you. To discuss, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.



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